After sharing what they have learnt, the group retires to bed, where they have strange dreams. Enizeag dreams of a place called Githzerai – a monastery that floats in space on the edge of a chaos vortex. Merri dreams of fire and lava, a place of industry and pain. Elo dreams of a throne room, of Drakemar and Archon Vaul.
The next day they figure out what they are going to do. Merri sticks out way too much as she is, so they decide they need to get something to alter her appearance. At the same time, Elo remembers to her chagrin that they are still technically employed by the empire. If they can get new papers then maybe Merri won’t have to alter her appearance too much, if at all, and they won’t have to skulk around trying to find a way into the mountain – they can just go through the front door.
So they set out first to find some kind of spell or makeup that will disguise Merri, and come across a theatrics store, where Merri purchases some beard bleach, fake robes and grey face paint. While she is doing that, Elo and Zege go to the local Empire Embassy building and speak to the ambassador. They tell him they have been sent from Toreguard, by their Emissary, to speak to the Dragon. The ambassador grumbles about not being given any notice, and they apologise, but he re-does their papers and takes note Darajar, Alphonse and Lorcian’s deaths.
Elo and Zege then return to the shop to pick up Merri and return to the inn, where Elo has a little conversation about having to leave the kobolds and Auriana at the inn as she doesn’t want to risk any of them if things go south in the mountain. None of them are happy about letting her go off without them, but they understand, and she gives them enough cash to keep them in bed and board. With that, the group set off towards Wyrmholm proper.
After a few days of travel through an increasingly hot, dry and desolate land, they reach the mountain of Wyrmholm, the heart of the Drakemar empire. Merri looks around and recognises it as the place of fire and lava and pain from her dream. They are met at the drawbridge by a group of guards and a man who claims he is the dragon’s senechal. They are asked why they are there, and Elo gives the same gumph as before – that they were sent from Toreguard by the Emissary there with exciting news. The senechal nods, telling them that he will take them for a little chat before letting them attend the master. The guards are surprised, but he gives them an odd look and they capitulate.
They are lead through the mountain, surrounded by guards at all turns, to an ante-chamber where they are offered food and drink. Again, the senechal asks what they have to offer that’s so important they see the dragon, and Elo tells him that not only have they found this powerful child, who has expressed an interest in getting more powerful and thus would like to be apprenticed to the man in the golden mask, but they have gained the trust of, and a foothold in Fangthane, if the dragon would care to make use of it. The senechal gets mildly angry at this point, saying that the dwarves of Fangthane made their position very clear on the matter, and they have no need or desire to press the matter. Then he calms, and glosses over Darrius’s power instead focusing on Elo’s own new talents. She brushes him off, saying that these skills are nothing in comparison to her companions’, and the seneschal agrees slightly, turning now to Merri. He asks her what she thinks, and she mentions something about having come to seek her family – her real family, and the seneschal replies he’s sure the dwarves in his employ will be able to find something.
But first, the seneschal says suddenly, they should come and see the Empire’s latest find. Elo tries to excuse them, saying they have already taken up enough of the great man’s time, but he and his guards insist, so they all troop into the throne room that Elo recognises from her dream – giant cradle of a throne that stands empty, Vaul stood off to one side, and a giant crystal ball on a plinth to the other side. The man who claimed himself Drakemar’s senechal climbs up the steps and sits on the throne as he slowly changes back into the dragon. They talk and Darkemar tells tham that they really didn’t need to sneak around for the clay, he would have – and indeed is going to – give it to them freely.
Afterall, Toreguard is his latest aquisition and he doesn’t really want it to become broken goods. But, he says, after that, he wants their help to rectify a terrible wrong that has been done to the universe. Deep Sashelas, the elven God of the Water has been murdered by Gruumsh. The Orc god has removed the heart of the elven god, and they must use the remaining clay to refill the it. The dragon orders Vaul to go and grab some of the clay and bring it back up, then had it over to Meri. Vaul is confused, and the rest of the group are worried, but the dragon politely insists, so the golden-masked man does as he is told. As the clay is transferred to Meri’s hands, it begins to react, and the dragon smiles. She is given a jar to put the squirming clay into and tuck it into her pack. Darkemar then tells them that they should hurry if they want to save Toreguard, at which the group shuffle their feet a bit, and tell him they had a little incident, and they are not sure that, if they set foot in the city, they will be able to get to the seal. The dragon huffs and hands a medallion over to Elo, saying it contains his essence, and when worn will speak out a set phrase that will allow them to move freely and basically makes her one of his emissaries. With that they take their leave.
Two days later, they return to the Happy Gnome, to collect the kobolds, Orianna and their wagon. They sleep the night and next morning discuss how they can return to the Toreguard quickly. By air is the quickest, really, but they dismiss it as untenable given that they would only be able to send one person via Auriana, and they do not want to split the group. Then Merri remembers these things called ‘airships’ – Zege agrees with her, and Elo is confused. She goes outside, and takes a look around, and spots in the next town over a huge spire from which seemingly floats what looks like a galleon. She points it out to Elo who decrys it as being unnatural, but Elo is overruled and they make their way towards that town.
After maybe a day and a half of travel and faffing, they climb up the spire and book passage aboard the Half Spear, owned by a Captain Wizknockle and his Second-in-Command, Clunk.
Bright copper rivets, and cogs aplenty,
Spiraling coils, and whisks are all dainty
Sommel flanges, and things that cause friction and spring
These are a few of my favorite things
The Captain tries to charge them 2Dk a head, plus an extra 4 for the cargo, but Elo decides to try and use the medallion on him in order to reduce the price. Before she does so, she does a detect evil on it, and nearly gets blinded, but as she looks away and towards the ship, she notices another magical presence there. They board, and the ship sets off to Toreguard. At Auriana’s instance, they go and check out the other magical presence that Elo saw, and it turns out to be an elemental. The engineer gleefully advises her that the elemental powers the ship through indentured servitude, and they run them until they die of exhaustion. Elo is fuming, but can’t see a way to free the poor thing without breaking the laws of the ship, and the ship’s home berth.
So they travel on to Toreguard, the ship traveling at in immense rate, and reach Toreguard around mid-afternoon. Undead and unholy things cluster in the air, and the ship makes use of a ‘holy cannon’ that forges a way through the mess so they can disembark just outside the gates. Said gates open, and the emissary stands there with a phalanx of guards, glowering at them. Elo demands they be let in, on orders of the Dragon himself, and puts on the medallion. The emissary glares while the medallion speaks it’s peice, but they are admitted into the city, where they rush over to the wizard’s tower.
At first the guards on the tower are reluctant to let them in, but when they say why they are here, they are lead into a basement where there is a second opening of the portal. Meri focuses her will and energy, as the others protect her and help to block out the sounds of chittering demons, and slowly, slowly the clay ripples and spreads out, covering the hole. As it touches the edges of the hole, it seems to grip them, and pull, and, with a flash of light the portal is sealed forever. In it’s place is a perfect circle of grass and small flowers.
Meredith Gruksdottir, savour of Toreguard, slumps forward with a nosebleed. The others rush to attend to her – Elo heals her and Zege offers a mug of blessed, strong, dwarven ale. While they are all knelt on the floor the door opens and a mage comes through, gaping and gives a cheer that the portal is now closed. He demands they go see the council, and they snap at him, saying Meri needs a minute, goddamnit. When she is recovered they leave the tower and go outside into the street. They are mounting up on their wagon to head to the council, when they spot an elf with bleeding eyes.
They talk to him, and find out he is a devoted of Deep Sashelas, who has taken his own eyes in despair at his god’s death. Zege tells him not to worry, there is hope, and they heal him. He asks how is that possible, and they tell him they have magic with can revive his god. He begs them to go to the temple of Corelion Lerathion, which is where the devout of Deep Sashelas have gone, and tell them that there is indeed hope. They agree, given that it’s on their way to the council buildings, so off they trundle and arrive at the steps of the Elven temple.
Inside is a mess – devoted are self-mutilating, wailing and in some cases actually gnashing their teeth. Zege announces that they just fixed the hole in the city, they can also restore Deep Sashelas to life, and fix the balance of the universe. The devoted stop their wailing, and look towards him with tentative hope. A few want to know how, but they are called away by the priests of Corelion, who tell them there is something they must see.
They enter a back room where a crystal ball sits on a plinth. A red eye floats in the glass, and looks right at Elo as they walk in, and asks her how she’s getting along with their deal. She shrinks back slightly and says he’s been a bit busy. He says it hardly mattered now – Gruumsh has found himself a fun new acolyte one that helped him kill Deep Sashelas and take the waters of the planet for his own. Some other things are said, and Merri demands that the cover be put over the crystal ball. They speak to the priests of Collenion, and tell them they have a plan to fix Deep Sashelas. The elves tell them that it seems that an orc called Gorack Shar is the moral behind all of this – having lead his party into the Elven racial plane, murdered everyone in sight and dedicated their deaths to Gruumsh. That group has now taken up residence in some seaside town, and is currently butchering every elf they can find to give Gruumsh more power. Worse than that, there has been some kind of schism in the followers of Sashelas – some have turn to wailing and mutilation to cope, while others have hailed Gruumsh as their new deity and leader. Currently, say the Elves or Corllion, they are getting reports that the creatures of the sea are turning on everyone they can find, and there is widespread panic and murder and looting. The group absorb this troubling news, again reassure the elves that they can fix things, and carry on to the council chambers.
They are lead into the main council room, to find it is packed and silent. They are greeted by the General, who tells them that they did a good job, and that the undead creatures outside the walls have now turns away and gone north. The General then thanks them on behalf of the city and it’s people – if not it’s leaders. It is implied that many of the council members are not happy, and they assume that it’s because of the station incident, and their being allowed to wander freely in the streets. The general ask what they are going to do now, and they tell him that they need time to rest – Merri needs to recuperate her strength – and then they will return to Wyrmholm to deal with the dead God incident. The general thanks them again, and tells them they are dismissed. As they leave the chambers, a tidal wave of sound follows them, as the silent room becomes awash with shouting lords and ladies.
They reach the street, and Elo says she should probably go and see her Mother, and let the old dear know she’s still alive. Merri says she needs to have a word with Him upstairs, and Zege says he will accompany her, as afterwards he needs to go have a chat with Orock of the Plot Hook, and so they part ways.
Elo goes to her Mother’s home, and introduces her to the disciples of the vassal, and then gives her mother a short rundown of what she has been up to the past few weeks. The kobolds get a wee bit excited, and Elo has to explain that Oakrose isn’t her birth mother, but her adopted one – the woman who cared for her and her brothers when orcs destroyed their villages in the Forest of Night eleven years ago. She goes on to tell her Mother about becoming a paladin, and introduces her to Auriana, who assumes her true form. It all proves a bit much for her mother, who faints. She hunts around for her brothers, to get one of them to watch their mother and after one of them is overcome as well, Elo decides it’s best if she and her entourage leave.
Meanwhile, Merri and Zege have gone to the temple of Moradin so she can have a word with Him upstairs, and try and figure out some of what has been going on. She is greeted warmly by the high priest, but he sobers when she asks to go into meditation with her God. The priest says that Moradin is a bit busy, and can’t take any calls at the moment, and when Merri is confused by this, he goes on to explain that the dwarven god is currently holding the universe together.